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:: Australian Open 2018 - Entertainment

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

The 2018 Australian Open was recently launched in Melbourne as the nation gets ready for another great summer of tennis. The Grand Slam tournament is set to be bigger and better, taking place at Melbourne Park from 15-28 January, 2018.

Here are highlights of what to expect in January.

Food

· Australian Open 2018 has attracted some of the biggest Australian and international culinary superstars to the tournament this summer, providing more choice for fans than ever before.

· In a major coup for the event, award-winning and internationally acclaimed restaurant empires Rockpool Dining Group and Nobu will both have outposts at the Australian Open, taking five-star dining at the tennis to a whole new level.

· For those wanting a more casual approach there’s a host of options at Grand Slam Oval, including the return of modern Mexican sensation Mamasita and George Calombaris’ Gazi. New for 2018, there will be Burger Project, San Antone serving some true southern soul food, and Doughnut Time, for the perfect sweet tooth.

· At the AO Festival you can feast on Ginger Boy, Hunky Dory and Biggie Smalls or relax at the Canadian Club Racquet Club while watching the tennis on the big screen.

· Premium On Court Seating will return, with fans sitting just metres from the players on Rod Laver Arena, the most exclusive seating access in world tennis.


Kids and family

· The AO Ballpark, a big hit with young fans this year, returns for 2018 in a new location.

· With more activities than ever before, the Grand Slam’s tiniest fans can zip-line into a world full of fun activities, with LEGO and NERF back for a second year to delight kids both young and old.

· Central to the AO Ballpark is the specially designed ANZ Tennis Hot Shots courts where kids can pick up a racquet, test their skills and have fun playing tennis.

· Kids Tennis Day, on Saturday 13 January, will return bigger and better than ever. The Rod Laver Arena Spectacular will feature a host of big-name tennis stars hitting alongside some of the most beloved characters on kids TV. Kids will have a chance to hit on the famous Australian Open blue courts, try out ANZ Tennis Hot Shots, have their photograph taken with the iconic AO trophies and much more.

· The $5 ground pass is for children aged up to 14 years of age.

Entertainment

· Australian Open 2018 will see one of the biggest music line-ups with more than two weeks of music for the ultimate festival.

· Soaring from the success of January, the star studded line up will feature some of the best international and Australian acts at the AO Live Stage.

· Festivities will kick-off the day before the tournament with a charity concert, with all proceeds going to Fight MND, a disease that has impacted the tennis community greatly over the past year.

· The AO Live Stage will become a ticketed event from Monday 15 January and is located at Birrarung Marr, Middle Terrace.

· Big name acts are yet to be revealed over the 15 days with further announcements to be made over the coming months.


Tennis

· The biggest names in world tennis are set to return to the Australian Open this summer.

· Former world number ones Novak Djokovic (SRB) and Andy Murray (GBR) along with Kei Nishikori (JPN) and Stan Wawrinka (SUI) all sidelined during 2017 due to injury, have confirmed they’ll return healthy for Australian Open 2018.

· Defending champion Roger Federer and world No.1 Rafael Nadal, who swept the Grand Slam pool in 2017, show no sign of slowing down as they prepare for more success during the Australian summer.

· Serena Williams made it clear how much it meant to her winning her 23rd Grand Slam crown here at the Australian Open.

· The Aussies will be led by world No.21 Nick Kyrgios, No.22 Daria Gavrilova and Ashleigh Barty. Barty has rocketed up the rankings since her return to tennis, rising from 271 at the beginning of 2017 to her current career high of 23, with the potential to overtake Gavrilova as the top ranked Australian woman.

Australian Open tickets are now on sale here